Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Herby Black Eyed Beans

Sometimes, when deciding what to make as a side dish that doesn't involve either pasta, rice or potatoes it can get a little overwhelming or puzzling. Afterall I also have polenta, Kaska grains, bulgur wheat, couscous, toasted couscous and various tins of beans at any one time to choose from!   And this is where tinned beans are magic friends! I was a bit of a latecomer to tinned beans, I really disliked baked beans growing up, and thanks to my mum thought I didn’t like kidney beans either (yes I was that fussy fellow diner picking those red beans out, sorry, beans, please forgive me!) but a chance eating out of politeness at a family gathering I realised actually they are rather nice, and indeed edible and I started exploring things with beans… quite often they are just part of the fabric of a recipe – take chilli con carne as a prime example or within the spicy bean burgers I often make, with sweet potato but its not often they are a side dish in their own right – times are a’changin and beans are getting a new lease of life!

Black eyed beans were a random purchase, I think they had various beans & pulses on offer at 4 tins for one whole pound and I stumbled across the b-e-b’s and vaguely remembered that I thought I liked them, and I most definitely do! They are nicely creamy, savoury and overall very versatile bean. Definitely hoarding material friendly!

I loved this dish – in fact we both did and its something that will be on my repertoire of quick and tasty side dishes! The creamy beans, fragrant hints of mint and earthiness from the cumin, plus a little green chilli zing made for a very pleasant meal!

This works really well as part of a mezze type affair, served warm.

1 x 400g tin Black eyed Beans, drained
2 large salad tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion finely sliced
½ tsp dried mint
½ tsp cumin seed
½ green chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Water, to loosen

Greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lime if you have some, to serve

In a shallow frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli, tomatoes, cumin, mint, reduce the heat and gently poke around for about 5 minutes or until the tomato chunks are starting to go squishy. Add a little water if its getting too dry but not enough to flood the pans contents either! Stir through the beans and gently cook, covered for a further ten minutes to fully heat through the beans and keeping the mixture moist. Stir occasionally, allowing the tomato to break down into the mixture.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on the side of something nice and add a dollop of lime streaked yoghurt on top. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Veggie Secret Sausage Kebabs

Whilst I can make a perfectly decent barbecue sauce, I was trying to have a raid on the numerous jars collecting in the fridge (there is one full shelf and stragglers in the door and lurking on other shelves! I really am trying harder to use them up!) and I stumbled across a neglected opened jar of Opies Smoked Garlic BBQ Sauce I think my dad had originally bought over back in the summer – it’s a really tasty sauce and had me scheming as to how I would use it up....

In the meantime I was sent some veggie friendly sausages – now in the past the thought of a veggie sausage had me running to the hills as I had never found a decent one and I've been subjected to some pretty insipid non-beast’s along the way! Whilst I have mastered a veggie sausage roll with excellent they are not actually sausage shaped or suitable to cook on the grill and this is where my Secret Sausages stepped in! Reading the blurb off the back of the packet I tried, they hare 90% less fat, 50% of the calories and 35% less salt vs a regular sausage. Oh and 3 sausages count as 1 of your 5 a day too! Sounding like a health food right? All quite impressive indeed….

…But how do they actually compare vs a pork versions you may wonder? Okay so succulent meaty pork they are not but in their own right they held their shape well after being diced up and cooked, had a pleasant, slightly coarse texture that resembled the nice vegetables inside, not some mashed pulp of gawd knows what! Whilst they were not exactly very exciting on their own, flavour wise, livened up with the bbq sauce they worked a treat and would be a very acceptable vegetarian offering say for example at a bbq or a family gathering. I do cook mostly from scratch but I am only human and use a handful of cheat ingredients for when time is short and these are definitely something that’s handy to keep in the freezer on standby!

This particular packet of Secret Sausage's were Rosemary and Garlic, and they are made with green beans, mixed peppers, rice and rosemary, plus garlic of course! They are vegetarian society approved product as well as being gluten free so are suitable for special diets.

6 Rosemary & Garlic Secret Sausages
½ a large courgette
1 medium red pepper
BBQ sauce, to glaze - about 1 cup
Spray oil, to cook

Makes 4-6 kebabs

Using a sharp knife cut each sausage into 3 equal pieces. Halve the courgette length way's and again so you have four long quarters. Slice into 1 cm chunks.

De-seed the pepper and cut into half inch squares.

Thread alternate pieces of courgette, sausage and pepper onto the kebabs. Spray with oil and grill for about five minutes, brush over the bbq sauce and cook for a further five minutes, turn the kebabs over, grill lightly before glazing again until cooked through – about 5 minutes.

Serve with my herby beans (my next post) or a nice salad or as we are now winter mash is perfectly acceptable!

As I finally used up the last of my neglected jar of Barbecue sauce I have entered my Kebab's into Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's No Waste Food Challenge which is being held by Slice Off Me this November!

Disclaimer: I was sent a variety of Secret Sausage's for review. I recevied no payment for this and all images, text and opinions remain the property of Anne's Kitchen.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week simply flew by! We stuck to some of the plan but with B's man flu and being generally exhausted from sofa surfing a lot of the dinners became quicker versions. Tuesday's Cauliflower tart failed at the first hurdle as I realised upon taking the pastry out of the fridge it was puff and not shortcrust. And B turned his nose up at the idea anyway so we had cauliflower cheese instead and I had fortunately picked up some pork mince reduced, so I added some Jerk seasoning and made little pasties instead with the pastry. I think B was actually secretly delighted by this impromptu meal as I got meekly told 'we never have pie'!

This week I am determined to clear some cupboard space, I actually bought a new vegetable tiered thingy yesterday to keep in our larder aka Narnia to store excess tins! Do not let me buy tomatoes this side of Christmas, I seem to have accidentally hoarded them!! How normal is it to have 15 tins of chopped tomatoes, a large jar of passata, 3 cartons of chilli & pepper passata? Anyone else guilty?

I have made this weeks plan but also have spare a packet of mushrooms and a lot of new potatoes. Most likely one of the meals will change or will be lots of soup made for lunches! Tonight's meatball spaghetti is using up half a pack of sausage meat leftover from the recent sausage roll festival here!

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti 
Aubergine katsu curry, courgettes and noodles 
Chorizo, leek and squash hash with poached eggs 
Tuna pasta bake 
Thai Chicken wing broth or naughty takeaway

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Spicy Mushroom & Bean Sausage rolls

Now calling these ‘sausage’ is a bit misleading as there's no Pork in them and the term parcels implies something much larger and I can’t think of anything smaller than rolls. Plus I was making alongside their meatier counterparts so I decided to keep the ‘sausage’ part…you understand I am sure what I am waffling on about!

I have never made a veggie version of sausage rolls before, see I am actually rather fond of properly made pork ones when not in veggie phase but some bought outside of home are often rather questionable in their quality and after trying a truly awful, dry and claggy vegetarian sausage roll from a health food shop, it was time to embark on my own.. plus I was making these prior to going to see my wonderful auntie in the west country, who also by chance is a vegetarian so I thought she wouldn’t mind at all being a guinea pig! So I lovingly made these up from scratch, parcelled up and took them for a road trip!

Considering they are my first ever attempt at a veggie friendly sausage roll, I am super happy with them, plus everyone loved them! The spicing was perfect – hints of chilli, cinnamon and more from the Baharat seasoning, which was randomly picked up last year on holiday in Jersey, the filling texture was chunky but still fine enough to munch without pulling half the filling out and the vegetables all complemented each other very well. Wrapped in a loving puff pastry blanket what more you can want?

This will make enough for 13 generous cocktail sized sausage rolls – simply double up the filling to use the whole pastry sheet up!


1 puff pastry ready rolled sheet, halved down the middle to form two long rectangles (do this whilst still rolled! Mine was bought from Sainsbury's)
200g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ red romano pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
100g cooked black eyed beans
1.5tsp baharat seasoning
1 egg, beaten
Poppyseeds, to decorate


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, gently cook the onion until softened, stir through the mushrooms, carrot and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, sweating them down – be careful not to burn them, stir through the garlic, baharat, and the beans and heat through, press down lightly to gently mash the beans, season to taste with salt and pepper – the mixture should be fairly dry looking and well mixed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down.

Pre-heat the oven to I would approximate at about 200o - my oven has been on the blink for some time (and housing company apparently deny) so mine was 240o on the dial..

Open out the pastry sheet, brush the top and bottom halves with the beaten egg. Arrange the cooled mixture down the middle keeping it well together, to form a long sausage, pat down to form a column of sorts. 

Gently pull up the bottom half of the pastry over the mixture, brush the top with more egg and pull up the top side, gently teasing over – you want about a centimetre or so of overlap. Brush all over with egg and sprinkle with poppyseed's. Gently press the knife almost through to the bottom to form slices, on the nice sheet they provide with the pastry.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and cooked through. Allow to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Serve warm. If they get the chance to cool that far! They can also be reheated in a warm oven for about 10-15 minutes. Oh and they travel well too! 

Perfect for picnics, late brunches..snacks and light lunches too! Pretty much no excuse needed really.

I am sending these over to Treat Petite for November held by Cakeyboi and this months host The Baking Explorer - as mentioned above I made these with my Auntie T in my mind - all through my up's, down's and frankly inside out stages she has been my rock and its lovely to say thank you in the best way I know how - baking something that tastes great!

My veggie rolls are perfect for all the family - and for the great Family Foodies challenge, which has gone Vegetarian for November and so I have sent them over to the lovely hosts Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash

Monday, 3 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday & Catch-Up

Sorry for the late post - we have already eaten tonight's meal but I am squeezing posting in between finishing work, making dinner, transferring holiday photos and getting ready for my Pilates class! Tonight is not going to be fun - I had my flu jab today - as my Mr B has gone down with it and to be honest after just about seeing the back of a chest infection flu is not on my agenda! Trouble is thanks to the flu jab my left arm is now very sore and it will mean the stretches are, er, gonna be interesting!

Last week I didn't meal plan- mainly as I had actually taken my eldest niece A to Devon for the week, staying with lovely family. We did lots of cooking though I wish I had taken more pictures! A highlight was a pudding - simple bowl of slowly cooked semolina - but topped with caramelised satsuma segments in a ginger and cinnamon spiced butter! Oh and of course a piece of Curly Wurly at A's insistence it needed chocolate - who I am to disagree? Also we made blue cheese and poppyseed biscuits, a rather lovely spicy lentil soup using all sorts of leftovers, a tomato and pesto chicken thigh bake with a lot of cheese on too! Oh and baked apples stuffed with rum spiked sultanas and almonds. Oh and the most awesome ginger crunch biscuits - I will blog them soon, they lasted less than two days from being baked! Ooops!!

Then there was the lunch out to Torquay where we dined on Calamari, Surf rolls, chips, pickled onion-onion rings and deli cucumbers! 

And another lunch out at The Big Food Show in Exeter that very kindly gave us tickets - that was a lovely butternut squash and blue cheese tart with assorted salady bits. Needless to say I really need to cut back as the leggings for tonight's class are feeling pretty snug!! It was great to visit the show for the first time - it was busy but not as crazy manic busy compared to London shows I've attended and we got to see the Hairy Bikers and Marcus Bean cook on stage - plus picking up a few extra treats to take back home! I got my dad some beer called Pheasant Plucker, not one to say when tipsy...!

This weeks plan is not finalised, I won't lie. Mr B doesn't have much appetite so we are playing it on a day by day basis - but the fridge is full and will roughly play out as follows! We are also both exhausted from lack of sleeping so it may all just go awol! I bought the smoked tofu on a random impulse buy - I have only ever beer battered the regular kind but fancy some experimenting - do please leave me a comment if you have a better suggestion for it!!

Chorizo & Cheese omelette, baby corn and asparagus 
Cauliflower cheese tart, courgette and leek saute 
Smoked sausage stir fry 
Butternut squash and Smoked Tofu bake 
Aubergine Jambalya 

Mrs M's Linky
Tomorrow I plan to blog some amazing veggie sausage rolls for you - here is a sneak peek of them:

And yes they do cry out Eat me Eat me!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Banana Bread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Every week despite our small household of two we go through a lot of eggs - from simple omelettes for supper to baking all sorts of lovely cakes or just a simple egg wash on something naughty but nice like a homemade sausage roll, and buying free range is the bare minimum of quality for us. Also with thanks to the Lion Quality Mark on the eggs we buy, it guarantees that they have been laid by hens within the UK, and are produced to the highest standards of food safety. Eggs are full of nutrition too so you can pretend that cake is healthy too! The egg white nutrition part in particular is protein rich, carb free and low in fat. Okay so yeah the rest of the cake is a maybe a bit more carby but its winter afterall and we need more insulation!

This gorgeous Banana Bread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze makes no exception and naturally contained free range eggs, all date stamped with the Lion quality mark on them. It also means the eggs were stamped with a date, so I can tell how fresh they are, plus the laying hen has been vaccinated against salmonella. Something I really don't want to give to my loved ones along with a nice piece of cake! I was an 80's baby and only vaguely remember the news back then but what I do remember was Salmonella being all over the news, how fortunate we are now!

Moving on to the cake  the lovely Betty Ann from the Asian in America website gave me permission to post this recipe, after I had spotted it in her archives, that she had borrowed from a book – a fabulous sounding one called "Breakfast for Dinner" by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth. I really love how recipes that work get passed between people – as you know they are loved and by baking them for new people to love, you therefore spread the love around! Cake also equals happiness so not only are you spreading love you create happiness! Something this world is in short supply at times with so much sadness amongst us, we have to also remember there are good people too and that love will always win.

Also as its from an American website its in cups so apologies as I know for some this can be off-putting but I have translated the butter for you as I already own measuring cups and used them for the dry ingredients and converted the temperature. (I adore my Russian Doll ones and can highly recommend them!) I made a different icing compared to the original version, mainly as I forgot to buy cream during a bit of a daft moment in the the supermarket and I didn’t think the crème fraiche I had instead bought would be quite the same in the icing…also I used sultanas as the raisins have gone missing! I swear there was a bag in the pantry…think I need to have a good tidy up in there!

Anyway I digress – this cake was delicious! I adore the regular banana bread I have made a zillion times from the Avoca cookbook but after falling in love with my bundt tin all over again thanks to cake release spray from Dr Oetker, when this popped onto my laptop screen I knew it had to be my next bake! Miraculously for once my oven didn't ruin it too! (lots of issues!) Its bananary without being in ya face nananana and the little drizzle of chocolate icing completes it! I also got to sneak over some Christmas tree sprinkles too despite it only being October! It is of course also a fabulous way to use up neglected bananas!

*You will need a large bundt tin - mine has a 24cm base and is quite deep*

2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup Butter (171g)
2 large eggs
3 large bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk
½ cup sultanas (or raisins)

4 heaped tbsp icing sugar
1 heaped tbsp dark cocoa powder (I always use a dark one from the local Polish shop)
Sprinkles of choice

Pre-heat oven to about 180o

Sift together the flour, salt, bicarb and baking powder.

In a mixer, unless you are feeling particularly strong cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Mash the banana and add along with vanilla, mix again to just combine.

Add a third of the dry mix along with a third of the milk, and repeat until all mixed well. Stir through the sultanas and pour into the prepared bundt pan, smooth over.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes away clean and its lightly golden on top. Your kitchen will smell rather lovely at this moment and you might want to dive in. But resist the urge, let it cool a little - say 10-15 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan/ turning onto a wire rack (will depend on your pan!). Allow to cool as long as you can endure before making the icing.

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa, add a teaspoon of water a time until you have a desirable consistency and spoon over the cake. Add a nice scattering of sprinkles over the top of your choosing.

Ours lasted 24 hours. Probably would keep for a few days.

With heartfelt thanks to Betty Ann for sharing this wonderful bake, and in turn the original recipe keepers Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth for creating such a lovely treat!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to mention British Lion Eggs but its something I do really believe in and I received an electric egg boiler as a gift which I am slowly mastering!
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